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The Carmarthenshire Historian


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The Conversion

The aim of this project is to make the Historian:

  • Searchable.
  • Widely available (free of charge).
  • Extendable - a living, breathing document of Carmarthenshire's history.

The project is split into three phases:

  1. Conversion
  2. Second pass
  3. Extension

This project is run volunteers.

The first phase - Conversion - is done! Each of the 20 volumes have been converted, and are now online.

I'm currently taking a break after completing phase 1. It has taken approx 18 months, on a part-time basis, to convert the historian from paper to what you see now.

The idea is to take the original booklets, published between 1961 and 1985, and make electronic versions of them. The result will be as true to the original format, form and intent as possible.

The conversion process is a long one. Each volume will under go the following:

  1. Scanning.
  2. Conversion to PDF format. My intention is to create an initial electronic format. This will act as a holding pen for the Historian while it's being converted to a format suitable for a website (see bullet 4). Researchers please note: the PDF files will be searchable. (Recent update: I've just added the ability to search the Historian, including the PDF files -- ChrisJones).
  3. Semi-automated check using OCR software package OmniPage Pro. This will remove most scanning errors using the spell check facility within OmniPage.
  4. Conversion to a format suitable for a website. Currently using TWiki. TWiki is suitable during the first and second phases - I might decide to move to a more "normal" web format in the future.

Scanning is notoriously error prone - many mistakes will slip through the basic checks already described. Initially, the electronic form will not be as accurate as the original hard copy. For example, words in italics will no longer be in italics, special characters with accents will be lost, the letter e recognised as a c etc. However, given time and collaboration the errors will be removed. If you would like to contribute some of your time to this effort please contact me.

Second Pass
This requires your help! I need people to read through the Historian, and spot errors I missed during phase 1. If you think you might be able to help, then drop me a line. It doesn't have to be a big commitment - as much or as little as you like. Maybe you have an interest in genealogy and would like to read what Francis Jones has to say about Cwmgwili families; or maybe you'd like to read an editorial? Or, if you're feeling in the mood, you might like to read an entire volume?

Also, some of the images have not scanned very well, resulting in poor quality. The images need re-scanning, possibly from original source! If you are interested in helping with this task, drop me a line.

The ideas behind this phase are still a work in progress. The general idea is to improve the online version of The Carmarthenshire Historian. Some ideas:

  1. List of Authors, and their essays (completed).
  2. Categorise each essay. Some possible categories: Genealogy, Houses, Individuals, Reminiscences etc.
  3. Create an organisation? I would like to appoint some people to key posts within the project. For example: we need an editor, a system adminsitrator, sub editors etc.
  4. Extension - Do you have, or know of, new information regarding an exisiting essay? For example, in 1971 my grandfather could only "relish" the uncovering of Skeel's continental diaries, as mentioned in volume VIII's editorial. Maybe with the passing of time, they have, or will be, uncovered. Relish the thought!
  5. New essays - if you would like to submit an essay for 2006/7/8, then drop me a line. Please note: I'm in no hurry to publish new work - which means the standard is high, and the editor's say is final!

-- Chris Jones, grandson of the late E. Vernon. Jones.
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